With fall practice set to start on Friday, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops announced several changes to the Sooners' roster on Wednesday.
The biggest was the announcement that senior center Ben Habern has decided to end his college football career duo to lingering neck and back issues. Habern started 30 games during his Sooner career and was named to this year's preseason All Big 12 team by the media.
Habern's announcement was especially surprising considering the fact he attended Big 12 media days and proclaimed the neck 100% healthy following offseason surgery.
“I was able to work out all summer and get back into shape,” Habern said at the time. “I feel good.
Head coach Bob Stoops released the following statement on Habern. "Our coaching staff knows this was a difficult decision for Ben," Stoops said. "Ben has been a consummate leader for our team, both on and off the field. We appreciate the toughness that Ben has displayed, and we wish him the very best as he completes his education at OU."
While losing a player of Habern's caliber is always tough no matter the situation, the good news is that Oklahoma has solid depth on the offensive line to help ease the sting of his loss.
Last season junior Gabe Ikard moved over from his guard position and played seven games at center after Habern broke his forearm. Ikard is once again expected to fill the void in the center of Oklahoma's line.
That means redshirt sophomore Adam Shead will move into Ikard's spot at guard as he did last season starting five games for OU and playing in 10 games overall.
The other news of the day coming from Oklahoma was that previously suspended receivers Trey Franks and Jaz Reynolds have been reinstated to the team but for practice only. When and if they'll be allowed to return to the playing field will be determined at a later date. Both had their scholarships revoked after being suspended in May and all indications are that both are still paying their own way.
Wide receiver Kameel Jackson was also suspended at the same time as Franks and Reynolds but he was allowed to stay on scholarship because his issues were academically related. His status with the team will be determined once he has finished summer school.
It is certainly good news for Landry Jones to have Franks and Reynolds back in action even if it's only for practice for the time being. Kenny Stills had been the only returning receiver with any game experience and while OU will still likely rely on several newcomers, the prospects of having the suspended duo back in the fold definitely helps the outlook for the Sooners' offense heading into the season.